Eating Disorders, Genes, Hormones Linked

EAST LANSING, Mich., June 7 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say hormones and genes may play roles in the development of eating disorders in teenage girls.

Study leader Kelly Klump of Michigan State University in East Lansing finds genes play a larger role in the development of eating disorder symptoms in girls with higher levels of estradiol — a type of estrogen.

The study, published in Psychological Medicine, suggests the genes for eating disorders get switched on as girls go through puberty.

“This research was trying to figure out why. What’s turning on the genes during puberty? And what we found is that increases in estradiol apparently are activating genetic risk for eating disorders,” Klump says in a statement.

Klump says it is not yet known which genes are switching on due to estradiol. However, just knowing estradiol is involved could lead to treatments, Klump says.

The researchers examined the estradiol levels of nearly 200 sets of female twins, ages 10-15, from the Michigan State University Twin Registry containing more than 5,000 pairs of twins in Michigan.

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